Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 10 - Kick The Poo Outta You

Day 10 - Santa Fe, NM to San Angelo, TX - 504 Miles
September 15, 2013

As usual, up early, but not on the road.  Headed to theTecolot√© Cafe for breakfast.  This is yet another of the Diner, Drive-ins, and Dives restaurant. As reported, the buffalo hamburger at the Tune-Up Cafe last night was great, and I was looking forward to breakfast this morning.  But I eschewed the Chili Rellenos and Eggs, was significantly drawn toward the homemade Corn Beef Hash and eggs, but persevered for my Chilli and Eggs.  Had to make my own by ordering a couple of eggs and a small side order of their red.  Should have asked for the shredded cheese and some chopped onions, that would have made it a real Chilli and Eggs breakfast, but, the chilli was good and it worked. So...filled up with gas in every sense...I headed out for Texas.

I am a big fan of New Mexico.  I think it is one of the best kept secrets in the U.S.  Great and variable country side, friendly people, and more miles and miles of miles and miles.  What's not to like?

Looking west toward the Sandia Mountains.  On the other side is Albuquerque.  On this side is an excellent golf course I once played with a 295 yard par-3; fortunately with a big "down," so you could reach if you could hit a 200 yd shot.



This isn't the sand trap.
A little further and it's ranch land.
And all the beauty isn't vista.  Nature, as usual, does a very good job out here.
 
Some neat cactus

By the time I reached Vaughn, NM, I was becoming concerned about the availability of gas on the long reach down to Roswell.  My friendly and ever efficient GPS was telling me there was no fuel in my future for something like eighty or ninety miles (Roswell).  The closest behind me was in Cline's Corner back up by I-40 some forty-plus miles back...and we know, we can't go back.  Don't we?  But I believe in the capitalist system.  Given those distances, I'm sure there's gas in this town though my Garmin friends didn't get paid to tell me about it.

As I pulled into town I thought at first there had been a wreck involving a very neat old classic car because it was parked cattywampus to the curb with a police vehicle behind it with lights on.  But, upon closer examination I note some motorcycles and more classic cars lined up down the street ninety degrees from my route.  Ha, said I, a parade.

A few minutes later, unsuccessfully exiting before the parade caught up to me, I watched as it pulled through town.  Took at least ten minutes.
 

 A little research subsequently yielded that the population of the town is estimated at ~438 in July 2011.  The police vehicle I saw was probably driven by a non-sworn officer who, with a police dog was all that remained of the police force after the resignation of the police chief in Sept. 2012 when criminal charges were brought against him.  The county sheriff patrols the town at this time and, according to Wikipedia, Homeland Security states it is a known drug smuggling route.  You just never know what information a parade can create, do you?

Things were uneventful...even in Roswell...for the remainder of the trip today.  Desiring to end this trip with a stop attuned to the initial subject matter, i.e, conflicts between original and moving-in-and-taking-over man, I chose to visit one of my favorite Texas towns and areas: San Angelo.

San Angelo was home to one of the most famous of the frontier forts, Fort Concho, founded in 1867, located near the confluence of the North, Middle, and South Concho rivers.  The most famous commanders of this famous fort were the previously mentioned Col. Ranald Mackenzie who performed his many military feats against the Indians from this base, and Col. Benjamin Grierson, famous for his 1863 expedition through enemy country severing communications between Vicksburg, MS and eastern commanders of the Confederacy during the civil war, and his post-war organization and command of the 10th Calvary Regiment known as Buffalo soldiers between 1866-88.

But Fort Concho and its importance during the Indian wars aren't the only related story in the San Angelo area.  On January 8, 1865, a force made up of 160 Confederate troops and 325 State Militiamen attacked a large encampment of peaceful Indians migrating south to Mexico to take themselves out of the way of the violence of the Civil War.  Much like the later Custer, the two commanders ignored advice from scouts and other sources that these were not a combative tribe, and failed to coordinate their efforts because of all-to-usual petty military jealousies, resulting in their getting their military asses kicked by the Kickapoo tribe of about 2,000 souls on a very cold day near Dove Creek twenty miles southwest of San Angelo.  A very good piece about this event in Texas history written by famous western writer Elmer Kelton can be found at: Battle of Dove Creek - 1865.  (Kelton also deals with this subject in his story of the changing views of legendary Texas cattlemen, 'Stand Proud.')  

I think Texas is, as I surmised about Colorado and the Sand Creek Massacre, not very proud of it's role in this particular battle.  Not to mention, they lost.  There is no Dove Creek Battlefield site.  In fact, I do not know if anyone knows exactly where the site is, it's mostly private land in the area.  The only official recognition this event occurred is a Texas Historical Marker (#523500115) near Mertzon, TX which states, "On January 8, 1865 eight miles east of here Confederate troops and Texas militiamen engaged a large party of Kickapoo Indians..."  Eight miles east of here??  That certainly brings it home for one, doesn't it?  As noted, it is mostly private land, but I was able to get here and I'll guarantee you the site of the actual battle is less than eight miles from this point since this point is about eleven miles east of that marker.

Pulled into town, got a room, and a great meal at Johnny Corino's before reading myself to sleep. 

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